March 10, 2007

International Blogger Meetup

View from the tower

Since Beautiful Smart Wonderful Daughter still had another day of writing midterm papers before her spring break began, my husband and I took a side trip to the Small City of Many Spires to meet one of my blogging friends. English Minister Blogging Friend and I have been plotting ways to meet ever since I told her my daughter would be spending the semester in her country.

Whenever I read the blog of the Woman Who Scores the Same as Me on the Myers-Brigg Test, I have this sense that we have parallel lives but on different sides of the ocean. Our households, our kids, our husbands, and our personalities and quirks seem oddly similar. This week, we finally had a chance to meet in person.

We walked through the busy streets and wandered through colleges, we admired architecture, we climbed the tall tower of Cathedral Named After a Woman to stand in the sun and gawk at the view. But mostly, we talked, our English and American accents weaving together as we jumped from topic to topic. My patient and introverted husband had little chance to get a word in edgewise.

When we were cold from the brisk wind that had come up, Anglican Curate Blogging Friend bought us lunch in a pub that felt wonderfully warm and cozy. We talked about her trip to India last fall, her work, her path to ordination. We talked about kids and hometowns, and the week we had planned with Smart Wonderful Beautiful Daughter.

In the women's bathroom (or the loo, as my English Friend would say), we stood together in front of a lovely mirror and tried with our cameras to get a wonderfully clever blogger photo of our reflections. Somehow, we failed to get a good shot. Maybe it's because we kept trying to change the angle so that we wouldn't get the condom/tampon dispenser in the photo. Maybe it's because we were laughing too hard. Or maybe it's that it's really hard to get a photo in a small bathroom and not show your faces at all. But at least we tried.

We ended our afternoon with tea and dessert at Cafe That Serves Spotted Dick Pudding. I first embarrassed my husband and English Blogging Friend by taking a photo of the chalkboard that held the list of desserts and then by changing tables twice. I wanted to sit at one of two little round tables in the sunlight, tucked up against the big window. No matter that two young lovers were already at the other little table, sharing a romantic meal. I mean, an empty table is an empty table, right? All is fair when it comes to restaurants and empty chairs.

My husband, sensitive to the needs of a young couple on a date, tried quietly to indicate that the shy lovers might not appreciate the presence of two giddy, talkative women, old enough to be their mothers, loudly chatting at their elbows. But his hints were too subtle and the sunshine was hard to resist, and we settled into the chairs happily. When the couple, both dressed like college students, finished their meal and were pulling money from their pockets to pay their bill, my husband reached over (it wasn't hard, they were like two inches away), grabbed the bill, and said, "We've intruded on your space, so let me at least pay your bill."

The young man, with his flushed cheeks and big eyes, looked incredulous. He sort of stammered, "Are you sure?" and then seemed to be searching for words. Finally, he looked at me and then back at my husband and said, "Are you from America then?"

That question, delivered with his lovely accent, seemed so in keeping with the moment that it quite made my day.

College courtyard

15 comments:

Hel said...

It made my day as well.

And your post briefly transported me to a day where the assignment does not exist.

Kathryn said...

Love you, Jo(e) xx
And on the bus to the car I realised that Introvert husband had most wonderfully fulfilled the spirit of the Love Life Live Lent thingummy I've been following...See my blog (when your internet allows) for how he beat the programme hollow!
Thank you both for a wonderful day.
Here's to the next time xxx

BeachMama said...

What a wonderful day, it sounds like so much fun. But, I have to say that your sweet thoughtful husband brought tears to my eyes with his kindness and generosity. Not too many people would even think of such a thing. Good for him and may that young couple pass it on.

Rachel said...

oh one of my favourite places! i used to live right near college with big courtyard featured. wow do i miss it! would be feeling infinitely more heartsick seeing your posts and photos if i wasn't returning in a month!

and what a lovely gesture by your very lovely husband!

enjoy your trip, it soundz brilliant!

ppb said...

jo(e)'s husband rocks!

Songbird said...

How is it that I've met Kathryn, and you've met Kathryn, but we've not met?
It sounds like a wonderful encounter!

Ianqui said...

And I'm sure it made THEIR day as well--a win-win for all!

I love the photos, BTW. Again, your framing skillz in combination with the amazing color rendering of your camera have produced some fine, fine artwork.

Patti said...

I'm so jealous. Would you bring the spring with you, please, when you come home?

Bitty said...

What a lovely story. While I'm sure your husband had no agenda in mind, at least two people in England now see Americans as something other than crass warmongers.

Thank you, jo(e) and Mr. jo(e) for being such good ambassadors.

(When you get back, jo(e), wouldn't it just be an interesting idea to have us post our Myers-Briggs scores and talk about them? And I'll bet your husband's starts with an I...)

jo(e) said...

Songbird: Yeah, and we live in the same county, no less. Well, we will have to meet sooner or later ....

Ianqui: Oh, I take that as a huge compliment coming from you.

Bitty: My husband and I are exact opposites in all four categories on the Myers-Briggs ....

Lilian said...

"Are you from America then?" That is so cute! I love the photos too... GORGEOUS! And meeting a blogging friend is always such a thrill, isn't it? I'm very happy for you and your English "twin." Now, you could have asked your husband to take a photo, no? maybe of your backs as you walked on the street... Oh, well, I understand, you were probably too busy talking to remember it, wasn't it?

jo(e) said...

Lilian: We did make my husband take a photo of the two of us -- but the one on my camera didn't come out. If you click through to Kathryn's blog, you can see the one he took with her camera.

Katherine said...

Oh, how marvelous!

julieunplugged said...

May I just say that I am smitten with your writing? What a lovely, touching moment... teared up here. Nothing like kindness going both ways.

undine said...

Lovely gesture, to pay the bill like that. Enjoy your visit (& please keep posting the pictures!).